My days have various levels of good. There’s the “I nailed that workout” good, the “they have multiple aged cheese samples at Whole Foods” good, and the “I get to spend time on my yoga mat” good. Yesterday was no exception.
Yoga has been in my life for years – my mom underwent yoga teacher training when I was young, and since I have found yoga mats, downward dog and the faint smell of lavender to be expected daily occurrences. I have practiced multiple forms of yoga, from the vocal Kundalini to the hot and powerful ashtanga, and I am proud to say I’ve fallen asleep during multiple meditations. I didn’t appreciate yoga for its worth until I entered high school, when I became engulfed in academic and social stressors that seemed to have no escape. Except for my mat. Sometimes two by six feet is all you need to completely relinquish yourself from the world around you.
Since coming to California, I have felt some of the highest levels of anxiety, between bike crashes, constant injuries and the realization that the nearest family member is two flights and an hour car drive away, has been a mental and emotional burden. And during these times, I have found sanctuary and solitude in a heated room, uncomfortably twisted on a thin rubber mat, surrounded by others pretending to breathe like dragons. This is my happy place. While it can be an expensive and occasionally uncomfortable happy place (envision a room full on individuals balancing on their heads avoiding upside-down eye contact with their spandex-clad mates across the room), it is also my indefinite happy place. A place free of judgement, free of tasks and free of expectations. A place where I can determine my edge at that given moment, where there is no pace, no set and no plan – just the powerful connection between myself, my physicality and the earth. I have always taken pride in my ability to listen to my body, to hear what it needs and take assessment. I credit yoga for this ability. I credit yoga for teaching me to step out of the tense, high-stress times I put myself through and take a moment to stretch, relax and challenge myself with no one watching. If you’re having a rough day, a good day, or just in need of some solace, go to yoga. Whether it’s your first class or your fiftieth, take an hour out of your day to listen to your body. You’ll be amazed by the sounds.
For my friends in Indy, I love Flourish Yoga – the owner, Amy Thomas, is the best instructor I have had the privilege to work with. Her words are soft, kind and powerful. She challenges you to find your edge and acutely sense your body’s messages, the quiet ones – the ones you rarely hear unless you quiet your mind, your body and that metronomic ticking sound telling you there’s always something that needs to be done. Quiet your mind and amplify your soul. I’ll see you in downward dog.